Backyard Deer Deterrents: the dirt on keeping deer out of your garden without breaking the bank.

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Fences deter deer at a high financial cost. Fences are another good solution if you're rolling in cash.  Just remember that you need to make your fences at least eight feet tall.  Some sources recommend making your fence at least ten feet tall.

Deer are extremely agile and I've seen them leap through a very small hole four feet off the ground in one of my fences --- you'll need to use fencing with gaps smaller than six inches to be effective.  In addition, deer will find any loose edge at the bottom of your fence and force their way through there.

Some folks have had good luck with building two shorter fences a few feet apart rather than one tall fence.  The idea here is that deer can jump high but can't jump so far horizontally.  In practice, this method has failed for me.

Other people say that you can create a horizontal fence rather than an ugly vertical one by laying chicken wire on the ground.  This method is supposed to work like a cattle guard --- deer are afraid of getting their feet stuck so they won't walk across the wire.  You'll need to suspend your chicken wire a short distance off the ground so that the deer can see it, which then raises the problem of how to mow across your deer guard.  I tried this method and just ended up with a patch of tall weeds and deer-nibbled strawberries.

Electric fence diagramIn summary, if you're going to go the fence route, plan to put in the several weeks and several hundred bucks to do it right.  The minimum cost for fence materials is about four dollars per foot for traditional fences and about one dollar per foot for electric fences, so it would cost from $800 to over $3,000 to fence in an acre.

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